Countersteering confusion : (

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by IrishJohn, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod Red Clay Halo

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    14,007
    Location:
    Richmond, Va
    The idiot is the one who doesn't "believe" in countersteering.

    Either Reg Pridmore is wrong or Lee Parks is wrong.

    Choose one. :deal
  2. Andyvh1959

    Andyvh1959 Cheesehead Klompen

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    815
    Location:
    Da frozen tundra eh? 1.5 mile west of Lambeau
    I for one firmly believe in and use active countersteering. I know what it does for me and what I can get from the bike for using it.

    So really, the point is, get some training, realize there is more out there than you know, learn it (whatever style), practice it and USE it. Find what works for you and use it, actively.

    It's the riders who feel they know it all, or feel they don't have to learn it or use any technique, just ride along into "whatever happens land", that end up as bumper-meat or of the road somewhere.

    An analogy might be golf. I finally gave up on getting much better than a hack on the golf course. I studied techniques, the "right" way to do it, tried to learn the classic grip, stance, swing, etc, and I suck at it. My buddy, with a twisted up, rough looking swing technique, regularly hits in the mid-to low eighties for 18. He found what works for him.
  3. sloweddy

    sloweddy Tree Hugger

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    93
    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    http://www.cycleworld.com/2013/10/25/know-how-to-countersteer-correctly/

    * I posted the graphic here & then removed it because I wasn't 100% about ADV rider policy on pasting in magazine content

    Here is how the article starts:

    ""Every rider knows that you lean when your turn. Yet few understand a critical aspect of this—countersteering.
    Countersteering is the technique you consciously or unconsciously apply to initiate that lean. In short, you steer left to lean right, and vice versa. To fully understand the theory, you need to get your head around camber thrust, roll angle, and centripetal force. But to ride you only need to understand the practice."

    I did a search & here is another article they printed on the topic 23July2012:

    http://www.cycleworld.com/2012/07/23/land-of-the-lost/

    This article begins:

    "In the June edition of my monthly Service department in Cycle World’s print magazine, I offered a basic explanation of motorcycle countersteering. I did so in response to a question submitted by a reader whose bike had been crashed by a relative who evidently did not know—or remember, if he did know—that countersteering is what a rider must use to make a bike turn.
    Then, in the August issue, I included a reactive letter from a gentleman named Sam Adair who insisted that countersteering does not exist. He told me to stop spreading such “utter nonsense,” claiming that “I lean my bike into corners all the time, up to 45 degrees, and have never once ‘countersteered.’ Look left, lean left, turn left; look right, lean right, turn right… No countersteering necessary.”
    I did not run Mr. Adair’s letter in Service to ridicule him; instead, I hoped it would motivate readers to respond with their own opinions on the topic and shine more much-needed light on a subject that every motorcycle rider should know and understand—and that could keep more riders alive and well.
    It worked. Since the August issue reached subscribers and newsstands, dozens of responses, both electronic and paper, have poured in commenting on Mr. Adair’s unshakable rejection of pure physical reality. What follows are some of the, uh, more interesting excerpts......"
  4. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,717
    Location:
    Bisbee, AZ
    When my wife was studying for her mc license in 1985 she asked me about countersteering, which was in the manual she was studying. I read the paragraph and told her I didn't know. This is after a life on bicycles and 17 years on motorcycles. Next time I got on my scooter, I checked this phenomenon out. It made a sea change in my motorcycling technique, made my actions crisp, and generally took the mystery out of steering. Shifting my weight is mostly a result of handlebar pressure; I am really on the handlebars as I go now.
  5. sloweddy

    sloweddy Tree Hugger

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    93
    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I know what you mean. I still remember the day (back in the late 70's) when I first read about countersteering in one of the cycle magazines.

    I was a fairly new to motorcycling - but I had been bicycling since I was a kid & was a bicycle geek in high school (think "Breaking Away" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078902/) and had ridden a loaded touring bike down the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Orange County the summer after high school.

    Anyway - I read the countersteering article and thought "no way!" And since there were no internet forums full of arguments for & against countersteering I just got on my XS400 & gave it a try. I was amazed - and I think it really did make a difference in my cornerning technique as well as my emergency avoidance practice & ability.

    What I don't understand is that if people have a motorcyle to practice on & if they read about Keith Code's "No BS Bike" - how they can fail to understand that countersteering is what makes motorcycles turn. On the other hand there are many Americans who say they believe that Astronomers, Geologists & Biologists are wrong about pretty much everything & that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old - so I guess I shouldn't really be too surprised about "countersteering deniers" : )
  6. bent wheel

    bent wheel Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    15
    Location:
    San Diego County
    I've been riding on the street and dirt ( I'm talking long journeys on dirt roads not just around some local track) for over 45 years. I've had my share of emergency responses, rocks on road around a corner, trucks pulling out if front of me, cars turning left etc. While I've spilled in the dirt plenty I've kept it upright on the pavement the whole time. Somehow my grandfathered motorcycle endorsement dropped off my license and I had to do the whole "new rider" thing at the DMV. In the instruction book it said to turn " press down on the handlebar". My response at that point and to this day is "Huh" ? :huh
  7. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,717
    Location:
    Bisbee, AZ
    Yeah the language was not very helpful. I remember now that just when my wife asked about countersteering a mc magazine I subscribed to mentioned countersteering with a more erudite description.
  8. orangebear

    orangebear Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,298
    Location:
    dumfrie scotland
    Turn a bike left you press down on the left bar and the bike will go left. I was told that at my advanced riding training. Even tho I corner with out thinking about it.
  9. InsideThePerimeter

    InsideThePerimeter North GA bound

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    140
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    I'm a noob but here's what worked for me.

    Find a nice safe corner somewhere (no traffic, no gravel, not a decreasing raduis, no dips or humps, or access from side roads with good line of sight around the whole turn, turn should be not too sharp and long enough so you can play with the lean of the bike = a tight sweeper

    Our practice turn goes to the left

    Get up to speed on straight approching practice turn

    1. Brake to proper speed - for you

    2 Look through the turn as far as you can see -Hint ( if as far as you can see is getting farther away the road is getting straighter - if it gets closer you just entered a decreasing raduis turn :eek1)

    Counter steer - push forward on the left handle bar grip- feel bike lean over

    Roll on the throttle.

    Exit turn - stop pusing on left bar -roll off throttle depending on speed - stand bike up right

    Go around your loop and do it again

    This time - note is your elbow bent or straight when you push on the left grip -- a straight arm makes it harder to control how hard you are pushing - bend your elbow this time.

    Go around your loop and do it again

    This time with bent elbow pushing on left grip - push down/back on the left foot peg -- feel how you can now press less on the left grip -push down then let off then push again - it a subtle adjustment - learn to do it every time and you can delicately adjust your lean with the pegs

    Go around your loop and do it again

    This time with bent elbow pushing on left grip -foot pushing down/back on left peg - push in on the tank with your right knee/leg --let off then push in again -it has more effect than pushing on the pegs but it's still subtle.

    Go around your loop and do it again

    This time scoot up on the seat with your chest closer to the tank and head over the bars prior to braking for the turn

    With bent elbow pushing on left grip -foot pushing down/back on left peg - pushing in on the tank with your right knee/leg - and scooted up on the seat with chest on tank feel the bike lean and turn -

    It will turn really easily - so be careful - forward weight shift makes more difference than pegs or pushing with your knees but all three won't get you around the turn without pushing on the grips

    Go around your loop and do it again

    Can you adjust your lean in the turn if needed - can you not brake and take the turn - can you roll on more throttle -

    Now turn around and do your loop the other way and practice to the right.

    Go home -park the bike - drink some beer with your friends -

    Next day - go to the same place -- Do all Four - Push forward on Grips- push in with knees and down on pegs - lean forward----but smoooooothly - smooth and steady sails the ship

    Are you braking too hard for the turn causing the front suspension to bob as you enter the turn - are you changing gears mid-corner - are you having to adjust your line in the turn every time - how about your roll on the throttle is it smooth, in the right gear ?

    This is just my experience on my V-strom which is kinda a tall - top heavy bike.

    I'm no racer but using my whole body to ride the bike works better for me.
  10. scootrboi

    scootrboi Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,717
    Location:
    Bisbee, AZ
    Didn't we all go through this as kids on bicycles?:rofl
  11. Reverend12

    Reverend12 Well there it is..

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,472
    Location:
    Classified
  12. tkent02

    tkent02 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,941
    Location:
    Littleton, CO
    If you didn't you certainly shouldn't be on one with a motor.
  13. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5,921
    Location:
    11 ft. AMSL
    Strange that this thread got bumped today.

    I had the day off and was exploring roads. One road, in particular, was a very long, well paved and empty two-lane (it led back to a really nice airport). On my way out I found myself just looking around at the end of a long straight where I had sped the DR650 up to about 90 MPH. The corner came up upon me faster than expected (admitting that I wasn't really paying attention - too much scenery on an empty road to look at), and instead of subtly and unnoticeable-y, I felt my left arm push very quickly, forcefully, and very measured (to sway the handlebar a specific amount) to make the right turn I really wasn't ready for.

    Counter-steering becomes that ingrained, and it's awesome!

    Rode all day before that incident and never once though about counter-steering until I needed it in spades, lol.
  14. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    19,747
    Location:
    OR
    I did and you did but since I have been in the motorcycle industry I have met many who never learned to ride bicycles as kids. I am not going to turn them away from the joy of riding as adults. I point them to where to get good instruction and then supliment what they learned there by going riding with them.

    Some of them have turned out to be very proficient riders... Others just treat it as a hobby. Whatever floats their boat. :D
  15. orangebear

    orangebear Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,298
    Location:
    dumfrie scotland
    Yes but as kids you just rode the push bikes and did not know the ins and outs on of countersteering.
  16. Barry

    Barry Just Beastly

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2002
    Oddometer:
    7,405
    Location:
    Fredericksburg, Va.
    Pushed left to go right???
  17. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2001
    Oddometer:
    14,797
    Location:
    Jax, FL
    Over the years I've had several people in my MSF class who had never ridden a bicycle. I don't think one of them has ever passed. Imo it's a bridge too far.
  18. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,289
    Location:
    chicagoland
    Yes. But, as kids, there was no instruction. We learned as a pure trial and error/stimulus response activity. Cognition of what we were trying to learn often got in the way of actually learning how to do it. Thus, some kids seemed to "get it" right away. And other kids struggled for some period of time. In the comic strip Calvin and Hobbs, Calvin struggles with learning to ride a bicycle while his Dad who does ride often is of no real help. Ask any kid who rides how he/she does that and teach it to a kid who does not ride for an example of frustration.

    Some years ago, a guy was selling a vhs tape of how to teach a kid to ride a bicycle in about 20-40 minutes. I haven't seen it. but am led to believe that it works pretty well.

    A cupple years prior to that "Bicycle" magazine ran a blurb on how tough it was to teach a highly motivated and well intentioned adult to ride a bicycle. The guy eventually learned. At the time it amazed me that that such 'experts' would not know how to do that?

    My grandkids cannot ride a bicycle and seem to have no interest, wtf?

    tbc
  19. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5,921
    Location:
    11 ft. AMSL
    Whoops. Right arm pushed. LOL
  20. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod Red Clay Halo

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    14,007
    Location:
    Richmond, Va
    Teaching my kids how to ride.

    [​IMG]